Photo by Gerald Castillo
Texas State looks to shake off loss at Georgia State
A sour fourth quarter has left a bitter taste in the Bobcats’ mouths after what was otherwise a commendable first three quarters.
Texas State trailed Troy by 10 points with six minutes left in the third quarter, but found the end zone on back-to-back drives to head into the fourth with a 28-24 lead. It was an unfamiliar spot for the maroon and gold. The team hadn’t entered the final period of a game on top before Saturday’s matchup.
“I feel like you gotta go into overtime right now to win with this team,” head coach Jake Spavital said. “And we've been in for overtime since I've been here, which is coming on heard of in a way, but you know, we've got to get to the point where we don't have to press.”
The offense’s pressing proved fatal. The Trojans intercepted redshirt sophomore quarterback Brady McBride three times in the final 15 minutes of the game, returning one for a pick-six and stealing a 31-28 win.
It’s McBride’s second consecutive game with three interceptions and third overall this season. Spavital felt that the turnovers weren’t completely on the QB — protection breakdowns by the offensive line and hesitancy by receivers also contributed. But the head coach also acknowledged that three picks in a game isn’t acceptable, especially in the most pivotal moments of the game.
McBride still figures to be the starter moving forward, but the Bobcats are back to giving backup signal-callers Tyler Vitt and Ty Evans a high number of reps in practice. The team has been working them back in slowly after the two were absent during the Incarnate Word game on Sept. 18.
“We're all in this thing together,” offensive coordinator Jacob Peeler said. “We've all got to find ways to help him, whether it's protection, whether it's a route depth or whatever it may be to kind of help him. Because again, you know, (opponents are) gonna get theirs, they're gonna have opportunities to flush him and we gotta make smart decisions when we get in those moments and protect the football.”
The maroon and gold offense wasn’t the only group claiming fault for the loss, though. There was still 6:26 left in the game after McBride’s third interception. Troy went on a 12-play, 68-yard drive that ran out the clock.
Senior linebacker Markeveon “Binky” Coleman said the defense should’ve been able to get off the field and given the offense another chance to win it.
“I feel like we could have been a little better in our run fits and that probably would have helped us out there,” Coleman said. “We want to get another (chance). We want to get back out there and get another one, try to get us a win. Like, we're hungry for that win. So I mean, Saturday happened, people felt how they felt and then it was just like, you gotta get another one. It's another opportunity.”
The Bobcats will square off with Georgia State in Atlanta this week. The Panthers’ offense ranks sixth in the Sun Belt averaging 368.0 yards per game, its defense ranking seventh allowing 419.8 yards per game.
GSU has gone back and forth throughout the year between quarterbacks Cornelious Brown IV and Darren Grainger, but may lock into the latter after he threw for four touchdowns and ran for another in a 55-21 win over Louisiana-Monroe on Oct. 9. The team also boasts the conference’s third-leading tackler in junior linebacker Jordan Veneziale, who averages 8.3 stops per game.
Texas State (2-4, 1-1 Sun Belt) and Georgia State (2-4, 1-1) kick off at 1 p.m., the game airing on ESPN+.
“Obviously, you know, we're all frustrated and upset with you know the outcome of the game. I thought our kids fall extremely hard, they showed up,” Peeler said. “So hopefully these guys learn from it. And I thought they responded well, (Tuesday), I thought they were really locked in and trying to work on the things we were asking today.”